Team: Los Angeles Lakers (14-54)
Protections: 1-3 in 2016 and 2017, unprotected in 2018.
Pick Status: After consecutive wins over the Golden State Warriors and the Orlando Magic, the Lakers lead for the second best lottery odds dropped to just three games. They've seemed to return to their losing ways. Los Angeles has now lost three games in a row, including a 106-98 defeat at the hands of the Sacramento Kings, a franchise that seems like it could spontaneously combust on any given day. Their lead in the lottery is now back up to four games over the Phoenix Suns, but the two teams are set to face off on both Friday night and next Wednesday. A couple of wins over the Suns could see the gap between the second and third worst NBA teams get pretty tight as the 2015-16 season begins to wrap up.
Chance of Conveying: As things currently sit, the Lakers have a 44.2% chance of falling outside of the top three. Phoenix has a chance to make things interesting, but I don't think they'll be able to leapfrog the Lakers, who are just 3-7 in their last 10 games. If the Sixers want this pick this year, they're going to have to hope a couple teams jump into the top three on lottery night.
Team: Miami Heat (39-29)
Protections: 1-10 in 2016, unprotected in 2017.
Pick Status: Right after the trade deadline, I wrote about how the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards acquisitions could have them trending upwards, while the injury bug might send the Miami Heat hurdling in the opposite direction. I was really wrong about that. The Pistons and Wizards have made very little noise since then, while the Heat continue to play impressive basketball despite the absence of Chris Bosh. They're 7-3 in their last 10 games, but have feasted on measly teams like the Suns, Sixers (twice) and Nuggets in some of their recent victories. After a 109-106 loss at the hands of the surging Charlotte Hornets, Miami currently finds themselves in a three-way tie for the 21st overall pick with the Hornets and the Boston Celtics.
Chance of Conveying: This pick will certainly convey, so it would be nice if they actually started losing some games. There's just one game separating the 20th pick from the 24th pick.
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder (46-22)
Protections: 1-15 in 2016 and 2017.
Pick Status: Oklahoma City hasn't been playing their best basketball lately, going 5-5 in their last ten games. They've shown some serious inconsistency, losing back-to-back games over the Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs, then dominating the Portland Trailblazers and Celtics. The Thunder currently hold the 26th overall pick in this year's draft, but are just a half game back of the Toronto Raptors for 27th. Their pick is nearly certain to land in one of those two slots at the end of the season.
Chance of Conveying: Done deal.
Team: Sacramento Kings (25-38)
Protections: Philly has the right to swap their first-round pick with Sacramento's first round pick, as long as it's in the top-10.
Pick Status: The Sacramento Kings once again find themselves in absolute shambles. Reports yesterday noted that assistant coach Nancy Lieberman has been exiled by head coach George Karl (who is likely to get fired this offseason) because of her relationship with crazy Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. Oh, and did I mention they're going to try and trade their best player too? The behind the scenes issues seem to certainly be a distraction on the court, because the Kings are losers of six of their last seven games. They currently hold the seventh best lottery odds, but Wednesday's 123-108 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans has them within striking distance of sixth.
Chance of Pick Conveying: It seems to be less of a long shot every day. As the seventh worst team, they currently have a 15% chance of being in the top three, and weirder things have happened in the draft lottery. Maybe the pick swap will become useful after all.